2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 30-14
Presentation Time: 12:15 PM

THE AVALANCHE RISK EXPOSITION COMPASS: A NEW GEOLOGICAL MAGNETIC COMPASS FOR GEOSCIENCES FIELD EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AVALANCHE SAFETY


ROLLER, Goetz, Kompassbau Dr. Goetz Roller, Forstenrieder Allee 24, Munich, 81476, Germany, info@kompassbau.de

Annually tens of thousands of Canadians and tourists from outside Canada engage in winter mountain recreation (snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, heli- and cat-skiing, snowmobile riding, winter camping) especially in Western Canada. While adventure tourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry and although there are numerous public, private and not-for-profit organizations that contribute to public avalanche safety in Canada, amateur backcountry recreationists account also for most of all avalanche fatalities. Since their number will further increase in the future, an increase in public awareness and education is also necessary to prevent a corresponding rise in the number of avalanche fatalities. For this I introduce a newly developed geological magnetic compass as an additional cheap and easy to handle toolkit. The system helps to visualize directly slope expositions, especially lee slope expositions. According to the prevailing paradigm, lee slope expositions are commonly assumed to be very dangerous because the wind takes snow from the windward side and deposits it on the lee slopes. Since most avalanches occur during or after a storm, it is essential for backcountry recreationists to identify especially these accumulations of redistributed snowpacks, which are possibly not stable. The cartographic kit for avalanche data can also help to facilitate backcountry routefinding. It is particularly designed for processing geographical maps according to avalanche theory. It comprises a special avalanche risk exposition compass, the direction indicators for north and south of the compass face thereof being reversed with respect to the geographical position of said indicators, and the compass divisions thereof being arranged anticlockwise starting from the direction indicator for south. It comprises also at least one inclinometer in a specific geometric arrangement relative to the sighting direction aligned with the direction indicator for south that can be an inclination scale adjusted to match the scale of the map and a particular topographical height difference of a geographical map for a specific angle of inclination for relatively measuring contour line spacings having the same particular topographical height differences on a geographical map parallel to the sighting direction.

Handouts
  • AREC User Guide.pdf (2.5 MB)